A vigil will be held in Mont Vernon, New Hampshire this evening for the victims of a deadly home invasion that has shaken this small town.
Kimberly Cates was stabbed to death in her home early Sunday morning. Her 10-year-old daughter also suffered multiple stab wounds. She is in stable condition at a nearby hospital. Prosecutors have charged four teenagers from the surrounding area in connection with the attack.
Tonight’s vigil will begin at the Mont Vernon Middle School, where Cates’ daughter is enrolled in the 6th grade, said Mary Jennings, the superintendent of the SAU 39 School District.
Jennings said her classmates are doing as well as can be expected. “They have moments of extreme sadness,” she told CNN. “The staff has channeled their energy into positive action. They have made a mural for hospital room and they’ve made a giant card.”
The state's Department of Justice announced the arrests of the four suspects on Tuesday. Steven Spader, 17, and Christoper Gribble, 19, were charged with first degree murder, attempted murder, and conspiracy to commit first degree murder.
William Marks, 18, and Quinn Glove, 17, were charged with burglary, conspiracy to commit burglary, and armed robbery.
Senior Assistant Attorney General Will Delker said all four are being charged as adults. He also provided details about the nature of the crime.
According to Delker, the suspects chose a house at random to rob. The home is on an isolated, dirt road in this rural town that has a population of approximately 2,000.
“The allegations are that Spader wielded the machete and Gribble used the knife and each of them struck the victims,” Delker told CNN. He also indicated the charges against the teenagers may be changed or upgraded.
The killing has jolted Mont Vernon, a town that has not had a murder in decades. “The people up here aren’t used to this kind of thing,” Don Himsel, senior photo editor for the Nashua Telegraph, said on Tuesday. “This never really happens.”
The Mont Vernon Congregational Church opened its doors Wednesday for people who want to grieve, pray and meditate.
"This is a way to come together peacefully; that's what we are trying to do," church official Jane Nilles said Wednesday. "The church understands that there are people hurting on both sides. This is a time to pray and ask for God's presence right now.”
A neighbor of the slain woman, who asked not to be identified, said the killing has changed life in this small town.
“Everybody is coming together,” she told CNN in a phone interview. “People are very leery about leaving their kids with babysitters, they just don’t feel safe leaving their kids home with a teenager even for a few minutes.”
“It’s just awful,” she added. “I think all of us kind of pushed this way to be more in the country and live more of a sheltered life and you just don’t think something like this is going to happen.
“You feel safe and separated from what goes on in the city, and to think… there are boys who can actually do something like this, you just can’t wrap your head around it.”
For more crime coverage go to cnn.com/crime.
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